Method and timing of washing after intercourse matters in HIV prevention

In a headline that misplaces the emphasis in a recent study, Aidsmap appears to slowly be slipping into the circumcision hysteria. Aidsmap reports under the headline, Penile washing after sex not a substitute for circumcision, that the method of washing matters in preventing HIV after coitus.

Washing only, reported in 46.9% of interviews, was associated with an incidence of 2.20 per 100 patient years. Using a cloth and washing was used in 40.6% of cases and was associated with an incidence of 1.04 per 100 patient years. And using only a dry cloth, 12.4% of cases, was associated with the lowest incidence, 0.55 per 100 patient years (p = 0.0442).

Waiting to wash 10 minutes post-coitus was associated with an even lower rate of serconversion. “[Washing within three minutes of intercourse caused seroconversion to be] significantly higher than the incidence of 0.39 per 100 patient years among men who waited at least 10 minutes after sex before cleaning.”

The article stated that washing is being explored in situations and places where circumcision is not acceptable.

About David Wilton

fronterizo, public defender, intactivist, gay
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1 Response to Method and timing of washing after intercourse matters in HIV prevention

  1. Adrienne says:

    I’m glad to see researchers examining the role that hygiene may play in AIDS prevention, but as this report illustrates there is so much more to learn in this area. This report raises more questions than it answers. According to this survey, it appears that drying (not washing) the penis after sex is more effective than washing it. Washing it later than sooner also seems to be better. I wonder if using soap vs. plain water alone makes a difference. In learning about the care of intact genitals I’ve read that soap should not be used as it removes the natural bacterial flora and can irritate the area. Maybe this is not always the case, depending on the kind of soap used. Is it possible that washing with plain water AND drying thouroughly would prove to be the most effective? I wonder if we will see more research in this area.

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